Fairfax is the first local publisher to join the Australian launch of Instant Articles, coinciding with a tweak to the platform that allows more ads to appear within content.
The publisher says it will offer readers of its The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and New Zealand site Stuff.co.nz an “immediate, radically improved and more engaging mobile experience” than what it offered previously.
A raft of additional publishers are expected to be announced in early January.
Fairfax’s editorial director for Australian Metro Media, Sean Aylmer, said: “We are taking advantage of innovative new technologies – including Instant Articles – to maximise the audience reach of our quality, independent journalism and enhance the experience our audiences have with our content.
“Our strategic partnership with Facebook underlines the tremendous mobile innovation happening at Fairfax and our unrelenting commitment to putting audiences at the centre of our publishing model.”
Facebook, which announced 20 publishers were on board with instant articles in Asia last week, rolled out the platform in the US earlier this year allowing publishers to post content directly through the platform. It offers interactive tools, auto-play videos, interactive maps and audio captions, and Facebook claims that it improves the speed at which news stories can be viewed by as much as 10 times compared to standard mobile web articles. It works using HTML and RSS feeds.
It has also made some change to the platform tweaking the advertising ratio following feedback from publishers in the US. It will allow advertisers to place ads every 350 words, rather than every 500 words which could significantly increase the revenue publishers can make through the platform.
There had been concerns from publishers and the wider media industry that Instant Articles could erodes a publisher's audience and revenue by cutting out the publisher-owned platform in favour of direct eyeballs within Facebook. It also dislocates the publisher from the content putting Face book at the centre.
Facebook already has a stronghold on content distribution with many publishers already getting a significant proportion of their traffic from social however, it has been welcomed by publishers. The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian and BBC News and already on board.
Facebook was unable to provide any global figures on how much traffic publishers have been getting via Instant Articles overseas.
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